5 Popular Particle Size Analysis Applications That Might Surprise You


Mercury intrusion porosimetry procedure

You may not realize it, but you probably rely on particle size analysis on a daily basis. Particle size distribution analysis is essentially the measurement of particles in a given sample — namely, the size and range of them in a given material. Those who perform particle size distribution analysis will different methods (like laser diffraction, for example) to obtain these measurements. This particle size determination can help manufacturers across a plethora of industries make better products. Although there are countless products that are improved due to particle size distribution testing, here are a few of the most popular — and perhaps, most surprising — ones.

  1. Road Safety Materials
    When you get behind the wheel, you probably don’t give much thought to reflective road paint. But the truth is that these reflective surfaces allow drivers to stay stay safe on the road. Particle size analysis is used to ensure that the glass beads used are as pure and as well-distributed as possible. That allows these materials to appear more uniform, to last longer, and to reflect over longer distances for greater visibility.
  2. Asthma Medication
    If you use an inhaler, you can thank particle distribution testing for your ability to breathe better. Although studies have found that many asthma sufferers don’t use their puffers as directed and that how the device is constructed has a big impact on how effective it is, particle size and distribution are factors that manufacturers have control over. The size of these particles is what allows the medication to be dispensed effectively into the lungs.
  3. Makeup And Toiletries
    The cosmetics and other personal care products in your cabinet are some of the most common examples of products that rely on particle size distribution analysis. From creams and semi-solid powders to moisturizers, lipsticks, and foundations, most of these items rely on particle size determination in some way. The particle size in lipsticks, for example, impact the color and how smooth the product can be applied: large products result in sparkle and shine, while small particles give a silkier, matte finish. In other products like cream and liquid foundations, the particle size will impact appearance, stability, and even sun protective qualities. Because the cosmetics industry is so highly competitive, beauty manufacturers rely on particle size testing to ensure their products are of the highest possible quality.
  4. Computer Ink
    If you’ve printed out a document recently, you’ve unknowingly benefited from particle distribution analysis. This is true of the ink found in your pen and in the book you’re reading, too. Particle distribution and size in ink can impact the color, stability, and viscosity. There’s very little room for error when it comes to ink quality, so manufacturers rely on these processes to ensure that their products perform the way they were intended and stand the test of time.
  5. Coffee And Chocolate
    If you’re a coffee snob or a chocolate fiend, you might be shocked to learn that particle size and distribution play a huge role in how much you enjoy your favorite vice. Believe it or not, these factors can impact the appearance, taste, and texture of your morning cup of coffee or after-dinner treat. Coffee roasters have to pay close attention to how finely each type of coffee bean is ground for optimal customer satisfaction. And chocolate manufacturers have to take particle analysis into account when producing their product because it will directly affect the “mouth feel” for consumers. Think about it: as a customer, you immediately know when a bar of chocolate or a cup of coffee you buy seems “off” in this way. When you take a satisfying bite or sip, you probably have particle size distribution analysis to thank.

Particle size distribution analysis is essential in the areas of product development, packaging, research, processing and handling, quality control, and much more. To find out more about your options for particle size distribution testing and how they can improve your products, contact a lab in your area.

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